Happy International Education Week

I spent two hours yesterday evening hanging about 50 flags around our campus (mostly in the Campus Center but also in other locations). I dragged RH to the university to help me out, he is pretty tall, and he helped last year so he knew the drill. This is the second year that I have coordinated the university’s acknowledgement (celebration?) of “International Education Week.”

IEW09_color_info2No, I didn’t make this up, it’s an actual sanctioned week; it is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. But could they have picked a worse time to celebrate international education? The week before Thanksgiving? Students are already itching to go home, many have mid terms (at least at our school which runs on a 4 term system), and the last thing on their mind is to attend any additional events as part of a week of international programming… alas, I still go through the motions… because I do think it is important to acknowledge the roll that international education plays in our world today.

International Education Week was initiated in 2000, and has been held annually each November. Now in its tenth year, it is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide. It is a week which allows communities, such as colleges and universities, to celebrate and highlight international and intercultural diversity, and to appreciate the importance of a multicultural environment, particularly for a learning community.

In an official statement Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized November 16th-20th as International Education Week:

“In a world that gets smaller every day, a quality education must incorporate an international dimension—not as an add-on, but as an approach that is integrated across all subject, from math and science to social studies” the Secretary explained, “Our graduates should be global citizens prepared to work on solving challenges that transcend borders, and they should be able to work well with people from diverse backgrounds, whether it is an individual who is a recent immigrant to the United States living in the community, or a business client or colleague located halfway around the world.”

Amen.

For more information on International Education Week visit http://iew.state.gov/

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